Caitlin Gallagher
Updated Jan 31, 2017 @ 4:07 pm
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While we’ve always kind of assumed that being positive gives your skin a certain glow, a recent study by the skincare company Olay further backs this theory up. As Cosmopolitan reported, Olay and the genetics company 23andMe studied 2,500 women and found that 10% were “exceptional agers” — a term indicating that the women looked 10 or more years younger than they really are. And based on the study, one of the reasons for this younger-looking skin was because of a positive attitude.

The effects of aging are not just skin-deep, so Olay and 23andMe researched the genes of these exceptional agers and found that their genes were more active than the other 90% of women. While that may make it sound like the rate you age is out of your control, Olay’s principal scientist —Frauke Neuser, PhD — told Cosmo that lifestyle choices affect how active your genes are.

In a press release from Procter & Gamble (Olay’s parent company), Neuser said:

As Neuser told Cosmo, the three biggest influencers on your skin are tanning, the use of SPF, and having a positive mental attitude.

Olay and 23andMe then focused on this idea of a happy mindset by asking the 2,500 women in the study how strongly they agreed with the statement, “I have a positive attitude toward myself.”

According to the study, the women who were exceptional skin-agers were more likely to agree with the statement.

Rather than skincare experts and mental health experts thinking that these women are more positive because they look younger, they actually think the women look younger because they are more positive.

“Perception of age isn’t just physical,” psychotherapist Matt Traube told Cosmo. So, for example, even if you have some wrinkles, if your demeanor is positive, people will most likely think you are younger. Traube also said that people with healthier outlooks tend to take better care of themselves in terms of diet and exercise, which is good for the skin.

Positivity also helps deal with stress, which helps reduce the signs of aging. As Cosmo reported, another study by Howard Murad, MD — founder of the skincare company Murad — had 40 women read positive affirmations and write in a journal. After just four weeks, the participants’ blood pressure and stress levels dropped while their skin hydration increased.

Cher has made it clear that we can’t turn back time, but knowing that having a positive outlook will not only help your mental health, but help make your skin look younger too, just might make you want to take up meditation sooner rather than later. Although it might be hard to be positive in this current political climate, you may want to try for the sake of your skin.